The Museum was founded in 2006 as a specialised institution dedicated to acquisition, study and enabling access to funds that document theatre culture in Slovakia from the onset of the first professional theatre stage on the territory of present-day Slovakia. The Museum currently administers nearly 25,000 collection items. They include art pieces, and items of historic and cultural value related to professional theatre in Slovakia: set and costumes designs, costumes, maquettes, designer theatre posters, puppets, and other items of museum and gallery value. The founding lines of costumes and set designers in Slovakia are most abundant in the collection.
The oldest artefact in the Museum is set design for the production of Boris Godunov performed in Moscow in 1898. In the collection of costumes design, the oldest and one of the most valuable items is the design by Jaroslav Jareš for the opera Black Water Lilly (Čierne lekno, SND, 1921) by Emanuel Maršík. In the collection of maquettes the priced item is the design by Ľudovít Hradský made for the SND production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet in 1925. The most sizeable item (nearly 2 metres) is metal maquette of the set space for the production of The Cunning Little Vixen by Ladislav Vychodil (Städtische Theater in Leipzig, 1973). The highlights in the costumes collection include the oldest gentlemen’s Renaissance costume from 1944 made for the production of Philip II by Émile Verhaeren (State Chamber Theatre Martin, 1944) and the heaviest costume designed for the character of Boris for the historical drama Boris Godunov (SND, 1977): the crown along with the collar weigh over 10 kilograms.
Collection items at the Theatre Institute Museum are kept in the database of Central Records of Museum Collections, which is available on the website of the Slovak National Museum, as well as on the Theatre Museum website via etheatre.sk.
THE BASIC COLLECTION FUND AT THE MUSEUM
- Set Design Collections (set designs, costume designs and puppet theatre set design collection)
- Theatre Costumes Collection
- Collection of Theatre Maquettes
- Collection of Artistic Theatre Posters
- Collection of Items of Gallery and Museum Value
- Collection of Items of Gallery Value (drawings, paintings, prints and sculptures authored either by theatremakers or bearing theatre-related theme)
- Collection of Items of Museum Value (personal items of theatre-makers and items of utility art or crafts related to the above artists or to theatre per se)
AUXILIARY MUSEUM COLLECTIONS
- Collection of Theatre Architecture (material on theatre architecture in Slovakia – floorplans, blueprints, photographs, slides, negatives, press articles)
- Collection of Special Book Covers by Set Designers (material concerning fine artists whose work is related to theatre – press articles, etc.)
- A collection of personal folders of set and costume designers (material on fine artists working for theatre – press articles, etc.)
Memorial Room of Ján and Oľga Borodáč is a permanent exposition of the Museum. Mr and Mrs Ján Borodáč were among the founders of Slovak professional theatre. It contains books, paintings, furniture and other items related to the lives of Ján and Oľga Borodáč. The exposition is part of the administrative site of the Theatre Institute. Further information is available in A Small Museum with a Large Collection. A Guide to the Museum of the Theatre Institute.